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The Yachts Come To Play In St Tropez


  • The Yachts Come To Play In St Tropez

    A moderate W’ly wind of 15 knots, increasing to 25 knots with gusts of 30, generous sunshine and a lovely swell fringed with foam. Saint Tropez served up its much-fantasized conditions today for the 132 Modern yachts and their thrilled crews in this sporty opener to the 24th Voiles de Saint-Tropez. As such, Cavalaire witnessed a procession of boats in tip-top condition from IRC Groups B to F setting a blistering pace, the race favourites already settled nicely into position at the head of the fleet. The bunched arrivals off Le Portalet, with all their spinnakers flying, were the absolute embodiment of racing at its finest on this opening day of competition.

    Go West
    With the W’ly wind building, Race Management was in no doubt that the 132 Modern yachts should be sent due West, towards L’Escalet and Cavalaire, to reap the benefits of the powerful downwind conditions synonymous with speed and spectacle on their homeward leg, their spinnakers and large gennakers a rainbow of colours. The seas remained gentle and perfectly manageable, which was particularly appreciated by the smallest craft. As they made landfall at Cavalaire with its swirling winds, it proved to be one of the most boisterous episodes of the day for the crews, who promptly set to work on a series of manoeuvres and sail hoists to get round the mark before dropping down the gulf under spinnaker. Among the IRC Bs competing for the North Sails Trophy, Clive Llewellyn’s Grand Soleil 50 Mad IV, a familiar face on the podium in Saint Tropez, was evenly matched against rival Ada Cuciac’s formidable First 53 Yagiza. Among the honed IRC Cs vying for the BMW Trophy, Frederic Puzin’s Ker46 Daguet3 was already at an advantage ahead of Hanno Ziehm’s Marten 49 Moana in elapsed time. Discover all the results online in elapsed time on Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez’s website.

    Thanks to a slight easing of the Mistral and a warm sunshine, all the racers, in both the Modern and Classic fleets, were poised for battle this morning, eager to test their mettle in the still bracing W’ly wind. From 11:00 hours, the 132 Modern sailboats set sail for L’Escalet, where a fantastic coastal course hugging the shore awaited them. Meantime, the 82 Classic yachts tried, in vain alas, to make for their own start zone, the sea state and the gusts of over 30 knots breaking their stride. Ultimately the latter group were forced back into port, but not before the many image hunters caught them on film. The 5 Groups of Modern IRCs fortunately managed to validate their second race of the week.

    Party-time for the TP 52s
    Designed for racing and at ease in a strong breeze, the TP 52s had the opportunity and the ingredients to cook up a storm in the IRC C group, which is competing for the BMW Trophy. The President of the Hong Kong Yacht Club, Karl Kwok and his TP 52 BeauGeste repeated their performance from Monday to snatch another victory after a very wet 90-minute sprint in today’s short coastal course. The other two TP 52s, Peter Harrison’s Jolt 3 and reigning champion Prince Frederik of Denmark’s Nanoq, completed the TP52 podium. Vying for the North Sails Trophy in IRCB, the mano a mano initiated on Monday between Laurent Courbin’s First 53 Yagiza and Linda Goddard’s Swan53 Bedouin continued apace in the day’s breezy conditions. Tonight, each of these two boats boast one victory and one second place. The Baltic5 Music and Mad IV, Clive Llewellyn’s Grand Soleil 50, will have to raise their game if they are to tease the two leaders. The competition was equally fierce in all the other groups, with the IRC D boats competing for the Suzuki Trophy particularly closely matched in elapsed time.

    Scintillating Schooners Sublimate
    There may have been no racing for the classic yachts today, but their presence on the water was eye-popping to say the least, especially amongst the supercharged schooner fleet eager to give their all to secure the Rolex Trophy in the 1.50 m waves. Don’t miss the photos!

    The Nioulargue comes back to life in Saint Tropez on Thursday…
    Appreciated by racers and owners alike, tradition has it that Thursday is a celebration of the spirit of the Nioulargue, forerunner to Les Voiles, and its creator Patrice de Colmont. With challenges aplenty, combining classes and styles, the Club 55 Cup and the Centenarians’ Race, the day is a regatta between the gentlemen and gentlewomen of yachting that is all about the beauty of the gesture and the creation of memories that will last a lifetime. The start line off Le Portalet is open and each captain is allowed to set sail once their presence has been announced to the Race Committee. On shore, the hilarity of the customary parading of the crews along the Mele Jean Reveille will culminate in the rescheduled Sardinade des Voiles – a feast for the eyes and the stomach alike!

    Club 55 Cup, France and Tuiga to duel.
    Since 2003, the Club 55 Cup has been a replay of the epic challenge of 1981 between the 12mR Ikra and the American Swan Pride. Racing between Le Portalet and La Nioulargue, this duelling always takes place amidst the friendliest of atmospheres. This year, with the defending champion regrettably unable to race, the Organising Committee has been tasked with finding two new protagonists for tomorrow. A clash of genres but not cultures, the 12mR France (1970) will thus be pitted against the 15mR Tuiga (1909).

    The Yacht Club de Gstaad’s Centenary Trophy
    Tomorrow, Thursday, will play host to the 11th edition of the Centenary Trophy for the 21 Classic sailboats aged 100 and more. Double champion of the event, Olympian (Gardner 1913) will really have her work cut out to defend her title, especially against the fantastic former champion Spartan (Herreshoff 1913).

    Philippe Serenon, President of the IRC Owners Association
    “This is an owners association grouping together IRC boats which race on handicap with the aim of making it easier for a wide range of keelboats, racing and cruising monohulls to compete against one another. Supporting owners and races like the Ar Men race, the Spi Ouest-France, an Atlantic and a Mediterranean championship, the association is currently considering the idea of a national final involving the new Class 30 fine-tuned by the UNCL and RORC. 40 boats have already been commissioned to date from Multiplast. Our owners are spoilt for choice in Saint Tropez when it comes to the kind of wonderful festive races they relish…”

    Today’s partner: North Sails

    For the 4th year, North Sails is the official clothing supplier for Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez. As such, a special collection dedicated to the event has been created for Men, Women and Children, with graphics inspired by the world of racing. It’s a ‘lifestyle’ collection, designed using natural materials, organic cotton or nylon made from recycled plastic. 96% of the collection is produced using organic or recycled materials. The brand is making every effort to reduce the carbon footprint of its manufacturing processes and its products and the North Sails boutique in the race village at Les Voiles is selling this special dedicated line.

    Programme 2022
    Week 1: Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez: Modern and Classic
    Thursday 29 September: Challenge Day, Club 55 Cup, Centenarians Race
    Friday 30 September and Saturday 1 October: racing for the modern and classic yachts
    Saturday 1 October: Prize-giving (week 1)

    Week 2: Les Voiles Maxi Yachts and Multihulls
    Sunday 3 and Monday 4 October: registration for the large modern yachts (Wally, Mini Maxi, Maxi, Super Maxi) and Performance Cruising Multihulls (in excess of 60-feet)
    Tuesday 4, Wednesday 5, Friday 7, Saturday 8: racing
    Thursday 6: lay day
    Saturday 8 October: Prize-giving (week 2)


    Photo Credit: SNST/Gilles Martin-Raget
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